interview

  • A Conversation with Johnny Diaz: Two Cubans Talking

    I met Johnny Diaz at the Barnes & Noble in Coral Gables where, not surprisingly, I found him working on his next novel. Though we only met once before, we soon got into a lively conversation about writing, living in South Florida, and being a gay Cubano.

  • Contestants Go ‘Under the Gunn’ in Lifetime Series

    From the creators of “Project Runway” comes the latest fashion competition series. With a new Emmy Award in hand, Tim Gunn takes the reigns as host of Lifetime’s “Under the Gunn,” which premiered January 16.

  • Corpus Christi: Spreading a Message of Love

    There were massive protests when Terence McNally's play “Corpus Christi” opened in New York in 1998, and no wonder. The play posed an interesting, if controversial question: what if Jesus was a gay man living in Texas?

    Though there were threats of violence, “Corpus Christi” played to capacity audiences without incident. Years later, the play was staged in North Hollywood California. Eight years later, that cast continues to tour the world performing in “Corpus Christi.”

    In “Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption,” James Brandon and Nic Arnzen document the journey of these performers, the family they've become, and the message of love they're spreading. Brandon, who stars in the play as Joshua/Jesus, spoke with SFGN about the film, and about his own personal journey.

    SFGN: Did you ever consider filming the play instead of making this documentary?

    Brandon: The play itself is such a visceral theatrical experience, it would be hard to fully capture on film.

    We were only meant to do eight performances of the play when we revived it in a small church in North Hollywood in 2006. What we created as a family of actors through the visionary genius of our director Nic Arnzen was nothing short of theater magic. The play was instantly recognized by audiences as a transformative and healing experience, and it is because of them we were taken to a larger theater in Los Angeles following that short run, followed by the international tour we found ourselves on. The play was becoming a great catalyst of growth emotionally and spiritually for everyone involved. The stories we were sharing with our audience after every performance organically led us to pick up a home video camera and just start capturing this powerful and truly unique journey we found ourselves traveling.

    SFGN: Any plans to film the play?

    Brandon: We never say never, but no plans at the moment. Right now we are focusing on the I AM Love campaign that was developed out of this experience. We created the I AM Love campaign to deepen the dialogue. In each city we visit, over a weekend of events we will perform the play, screen the film, hold educational and art based workshops with our company, and culminate in a Town Hall Open Forum with local LGBT, religious and community leaders to have a larger dialogue about the issues within the play that directly connect to the issues within the community.

    SFGN: Has the Corpus Christi cast stayed in contact?

    Brandon: We still perform together eight years later. A true family was created from this experience like nothing any of us has ever experienced before. Although we don't perform the play as much as we used to, we all stay in touch and get together whenever we are called to do the play again. We just finished launching the I AM Love campaign in St. Louis a few weeks ago and it was amazing to see nearly everyone together again who was there from the very first opening night in 2006. It's a testament to what this play is all about, what playwright Terence McNally created, and what we all created together. We don't get paid for this experience, we just believe that strongly in the importance of this message of inclusive love for all people, and we are told over and over again how healing the experience was for an audience member. It's hard to ignore that.

    SFGN: Tell us who James Brandon is.

    Brandon: Growing up in St. Louis, I honestly didn't even know that being gay was a possibility. But I remember connecting all the dots when I had my first experience in high school with another guy and realizing why so many things didn't make sense to me. It was a lonely time, especially because there were so few outlets on how to connect through community to the LGBT family. As I began coming out to myself, a resurgence of pain was brought to surface because of all the old tapes and stories I was told by my church that I was either "going to hell" or "just didn't belong.”

    This turned me to years of self destructive behaviors and patterns that could have ended my life, but actually allowed me to eventually see the light.

    There were many people and places along the way that helped me see it, and I immersed myself in many forms of religious and spiritual practices to deepen my connection to self, from one extreme to the other. And over time I began forming my own family and community.

    I know I was lucky and blessed. I had many friends at the time who were experiencing the same pain I was who are no longer with us. I keep their spirit alive with me everywhere I go, and it's exactly why I continue to do this show.

    My mom is my personal hero. Coming out to her was not easy when I did over 15 years ago, and she had to go through her own personal journey with it to understand and accept it, especially coming from such a conservative, Catholic background. But by letting go of my attachment to her acceptance of me, and allowing her to feel what she needed to feel, she could personally understand what it meant to her that her only son was gay. We actually became closer in the process.

    I now consider her my best friend.

    For more information on Corpus Christi DVDs and the I AM Love Campaign, please visit:

    http://www.iamlovecampaign.org

  • Ferras Releases New Single ‘Legends Never Die’

    SFGN chats with Katy Perry’s first artist on her new label

  • Film: Beyond Love

    Director Silvio Nacucchi talks about his strange gay parenting tale

  • Ghilherme Lobo of ‘The Way He Looks’ Talks to SFGN

    Ghilherme Lobo is makes an indelible impression as Leo, the blind gay teenager in out writer/director Daniel Ribeiro’s delightful queer crowd-pleaser, “The Way He Looks.” Lobo, who is neither blind nor gay, has mostly performed as a ballet dancer, not an actor. In an email exchange with SFGN, he discussed his participation in the film, doing nudity, and his level of laziness.

  • Girl On Fire: DJ Spotlight – Citizen Jane

    Who is DJ Citizen Jane? I recently had the pleasure to talk with and find out some of what makes this talented, down to earth disc jockey/musician/artist tick. After many years of hard work in the LGBT community the Miami native’s determination has paid off and she has now gone global and will headline some of the largest and respected parties around the country and the world. There will be plenty of opportunity at a variety of events to hear her live considering her impressive and growing resume. Citizen Jane is the girl on fire — an artist on the rise.

  • I am Jazz - New Docu-Series Features Inspiring Local Trans Teen’s Life

    At 14, Jazz Jennings is not just a transgender girl, but she’s also one of the youngest transgender activists you’ll find. Diagnosed with gender dysphoria at 3, the South Florida teen has undergone a rollercoaster of experiences as a trailblazer for young trans kids.

  • Interview: Defeating DOMA

    Chatting with the lawyer who made it happen

  • Isn't It Romantic? Jim Provenzano's Tales Of Love

    Author Jim Provenzano, whom I sometimes work with at San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter (Provenzano is the nightlife editor), is a hopeless romantic. He's also a staunch advocate for people with disabilities. In his 2012 novel "Every Time I Think of You," he chronicled the tender love story of Reid and Everett, two young men who fall deeply in love during the late 1970s. Everett, a paraplegic, is confined to a wheelchair, while Reid is fully able-bodied. The boys also come from opposite sides of the tracks — Everett is from a wealthy and influential family while Reid's parents are working-class.

  • Lesbian Journalist Donna Minkowitz Pens Memoir With A Magical Twist

    Donna Minkowitz, a Lambda Literary Award and GLAAD Media Award winner, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an out lesbian journalist. It was Minkowitz' who first reported on Brandon Teena, a transman who was murdered in Lincoln Nebraska when his friends realized that he had been born a biological female. Minkowitz's story about Teena in the Village Voice inspired the acclaimed biopic "Boys Don't Cry" (1999), in which Hilary Swank won an Oscar for her courageous portrayal of Teena.

  • Leslie Jordan Reflects on Life, Love and His Love Life in New Show

    “I’m just an aging show pony, but they trot me out anyway,” sighed Leslie Jordan during a recent phone interview.

  • LGBTQ Rights Are No Laughing Matter for Comic Suzanne Westenhoefer

    Suzanne Westenhoefer isn’t sure what she’s going to talk about when she brings her act to The Rrazz Room at the Coral Springs Museum of Art next week.

  • Mary Lambert is Spilling Secrets: She'll Keep You Warm With New Single and CD

    Mary Lambert made history twice in the past year. First, she released the groundbreaking and heartwarming single She Keeps Me Warm, perhaps the first hit pop song about romantic love between two women. The song was sampled on Same Love, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' stunning, Grammy winning ode to marriage equality.

  • Meet the Director of "Five Dances", Alan Brown

    "Five Dances" is a lovely low-budget independent film from director Alan Brown, which SFGN recently reviewed.

  • Mo’Nique: “I Love You Back. And Thank You"

    From the sitcom hilarity of “The Parkers” to the raw drama of “Precious,” Mo’Nique is a powerhouse every time she hits the screen. Recently seen in "Blackbird” and “Bessie,” Mo’Nique’s love affair with the LGBT community shows no sign of letting up.

  • Music: Q&A With South Florida Rocker Danielle Schultz of The Shagwells

    If you trip onto a dance floor around Hollywood on a Saturday night, there’s a chance you might spy Danielle Schultz, belting out a rock rendition of Brittany’s, “Baby One More Time,” or a kitschy take of “Walking on Sunshine.”

  • Roland Emmerich Speaks Stonewall

    Defends film and addresses controversy surrounding

  • SFGN Talks to ‘G.B.F.’ Star Michael J. Willett

    From a Little Debbie commercial to a number of roles on the small screen, Michael J. Willett, who many may remember as "Lionel Trane," on the Diablo Cody Showtime series United States of Tara, has added a new title to his ambitious resume.

  • Surviving Stardom; Grand Maneuvers Life In The Fast Lane

    It was close to midnight before Steve Grand took the stage inside a downtown Fort Lauderdale bar where only a few diehard fans remained.